Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Immorality doesn't work

A lion’s savage teeth


the wildebeest.

It wilts


Is eaten.

The Israelis’ shackles


small Palestinian children.

They wilt


But are unbeaten.

©  Lavinia Kumar

UK raises concerns over Israel's treatment of Palestinian children
Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, in the US and UK.  She writes a blog for her brother’s seniorsmagazine.org, based in Portsmouth, NH.

Monday, 30 January 2012

The Picture

When I was given a gun
And trained to kill people,
I tried hard to imagine
Why anyone would want to kill me...
Or I them!
This memory surfaced when I saw...
The picture...
He didn't look like a monster
More like a Grattan's catalogue model
Air-brushed, posed, not quite 'cool'
With a sort of gloss...smooth, glazed
A carapace of self-righteous arrogance.
I thought of the other pictures...
Smiling, cheeky, open young faces
Life spread before them like a summer picnic
Again, I tried to enter his mind...his soul...
Like many before him, he saw himself a Messiah,
A crusader, rallying the faithful
To combat the forces of evil...
Throughout man's history his ilk are reviled
Or sanctified and lauded by their fellows...
When I was given a gun and trained to kill
My future too, lay before me
Like a summer picnic...but
Like him, I was to kill strangers
To contain the spreading of their creed
Like him, my leaders had no faith
That their own beliefs were unassailable.

© Peter Flint

Experts want Breivik hospitalised

Peter is 77, belongs to Rossington Writers' Group, Doncaster and writes short stories and poems  for his grandkids. He taught for forty years...mainly English. 

Peter says: 'I did my National Service in the infantry immediately after the Korean War but I had been in the Civil Service and they needed a clerk in the Base Company Office so I spent a year in a rat-infested barrack-room in Kure, Japan...at least I didn't have to face folk who were trying to kill me!'

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sunday Review

It's perhaps foolhardy to look for common threads in the diverse poems we publish, but this week's poems seemed largely about power (and the abuse thereof): from undercover detectives fathering children with the very women they were spying in Philip Challinor's Family Values and celebrity chefs exhorting people to follow  unheatlhy diets in Kay Weeks' Paula Deen Ain't no Lean Machine to J S Robinson feeling Powerless in the Charity Shop over rhino poaching. We also saw the grapple for power in Lavinia Kumar's Number One?  and the mysterious power of the Cosmos in David Francis Barker's Warning Lights.

Most shocking of all was John Goss's hard-hitting The Devil's own inspired by the lenient treatment of the US Marine Sergeant responsible for the deaths of 24 unarmed Iraquis including children and a 76 year old man in a wheelchair at the Haditha massacre.

Writers and poets can only hope that their words have the power - to make people think, to effect change perhaps, and certainly to provoke a response - something these Sunday Reviews rarely seem to do!

Have a good week

Clare (& Martin)

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Powerless in the charity shop

to revive
the wet-snouted angel
wallowing alone in forest swamps,

shot in the leg by poachers
who hacked off his horn,
powdered to molecules, each pinch

sold for the medicine pots,
more expensive than gold dust,
extinct rhino keratin,

last of the line.
She spins the trinket stand,
her hand snags and trails,

finds no amulet for the animal.
Only one sub-species remains –
fifty rhinos on Java

munching secondary growth forest,
no bodies without horns
in bloodlined puddles, at least

not today. She shoves
the display, a pearl angel
labeled ‘hope’ turns his face

but he’s a knick-knack,
nacre on sand grain,

© J S Robinson

'Cure for cancer' rumour killed off Vietnam's rhinos
J S Robinson is a biologist and writer living in Ireland whose recent work has been shortlisted for the O'Donoghue and Bridport poetry prizes and has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, Abridged and Magma

Friday, 27 January 2012

Number One?

Wozniacki wins most matches
Romney does the same
They both tend to blandness –
Pablum keeps them mum.

Each is a reluctant favorite
Even if they win
They eschew looking desperate
As they get to number one.

It could be their constant smiles
Or very perfect hair
But even with every extra mile
They never get to there.

So people look to other places
Find imperfect seconds
Love the extra spicy races
But get more than reckoned.

© Lavinia Kumar

Gritty world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki keeps flying under the radar

Romney pressing reset after SC loss

Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her family includes a variety of cultures and immigrants. Her poetry has appeared in Waterways, Thatchwork (Delaware Valley Poets), Orbis, US1 Worksheets, and more.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Devil’s own

Incubus and succubus, Satan, Uncle Sam,
innocents, and murder, babies in a pram,
gremlin, homunculus, and impish leprechaun,
Herod of Judea, slaughter of newborn.

Medusa, a serpent, dragoness of dread,
hissing, dismissing, pissing on the dead,
smoke from its nose, flames at its tongue
forked with duplicity, sing the old song.

Beelzebub, Prince of Lies, some things don’t wash,
Hell for Iraqis, Hieronymus Bosch,
heaven for soldiers, the patriot’s game,
washed clean, renewed, absolved of all blame.

©  John Goss

U.S. Marine at Haditha massacre court martial will serve ZERO jail time

Eyewitness report which inspired the poem

John Goss has a BSocSc degree in International Studies, and an MLitt in English, both from the
University of Birmingham. His first volume of poems, Borborygmi of the brain (1991) is out of

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Paula Deen Ain’t no Lean Machine

Not witnessed, not tragic, but perhaps
some magic in relating this story
because it made me smile and
even laugh when I looked at that
white hair, wide, smiling face photograph:
Paula Deen! Paula, Paula Deen!

No surprise that she has Type 2 Diabetes,
had it for three years, what with all
that sugar and fat she eats and teaches
plus that engaging laugh, "Y'all!"--
adding “I’ve always preached moderation,”
and “I don’t blame myself.”
Golden Mean! Paula Deen!

Oh No! Will not change her cooking style;
she's put on a new layer, teamed up
with a Danish pharmaceutical company
to spread the Company’s catchy slogan:
“Diabetes in a New Light” which advocates
the drug Victoria, and eating lighter foods…
perhaps, and maybe exercising...perhaps...

Son Bobby (no Diabetes yet) has his
own show: “Not My Mama’s Meals,”
and isn’t it just a family affair, what
with the business, food, transformation
and above all, the money money money!
Nothing like family sticking together
like macaroni you forgot to rinse!

New York’s marketing head says,
“There’s no question that she was the face
of a certain kind of egregious indulgence…”
Well, she says she won’t stop eating the way she does!
thousands of supportive tweets...and she
will continue to cook, to eat...teach kids
how to end up with Diabetes 2.
"Cause, honey," Ain't we all in this together
in our cute little stew like button mushrooms
swimming in butter and gasping for air?

As for Paula? She’s smiling wide
with her new family story,
meanwhile promoting the drug:
"Victoria." Y'all come to dinner soon now, ya hear?
We'll chow down and pop that pill and won't it be sweet?
Hail to the Queen! Paula Deen.

© Kay Weeks

Chef Has Diabetes, and Some Say ‘I Told You So’


Kay worked for 30 years for the US National Parks Service in the area of National Historic Preservation, retiring in 2005. She writes and publishes poetry in the US and the UK.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Warning Lights

When I was a skinny lad
all dressed up in country garb,
mother said that to see
the northern lights was a bad sign,
a harbinger of crisis–
an impending world war.
So, don't expect to find me outside tonight
among that swelling shivering host,
all you stargazer's gawping goggle-eyed,
straining your unaccustomed necks
for the sake of the unforgiving sky.
Nor will you find me
wishing on a streaking star
because I remember Diana's comet,
how we all changed from stiff upper lip
to chuckers of flowers.
No, don't expect to see me
tutting at those shifting shimmering lights
that light up your gleeful eyes.
I'll be packing my bags
and heading for the hills
and nothing will be spared,
no sentiment, please.
I remember last year's
economic hors d'oeuvre;
I'm checking out before the main course

© David Francis Barker

Aurora Borealis displays predicted for north of UK

David likes to write poems and prose and paint in oil and acrylic. http://francisbarkerart.com/

Monday, 23 January 2012

Family Values

I never saw you personally, though
Your mother helped whenever she protested;
I checked on you each time she was arrested;
Her misdemeanours helped me watch you grow.
Bad as it looks, I hope you'll understand.

If I had won our bread some other way,
By slaving in an office every day
Or freedom-fighting in some other land,
My absence would have meant I would be missed.
I do admit I was an absent father.

But surely you don't think that you would rather
Be brought up as a bloody anarchist?

© Philip Challinor

Undercover police had children with activists
Philip blogs at 'The Curmudgeon' - He insists, "You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry." Philip is the author of a number of books.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Sunday Review

We've had many war poems over the last year, but a couple this week hinted at the threat of wars to come: Lavinia Kumar believes the troubles in Syria are reaching 'Epidemic Proportions'; David Francis Barker's 'Meeting Madness' watches the tick of the Doomsday Clock towards nuclear war, and  Chris Lawrence returns attention to the South Atlantic with 'Malvinas'. With the ghosts of the Coventry, the Sheffield and the Belgrano still stirring up sediment, David Subacchi reminded us yesterday that Big Ships Still Sink, as this weeks events off the coast of Italy have shown.

'Every morning the news is grim' writes new contributor Abigail Wyatt, offering us a moment of respite with 'Crow goes viral' ... unless you're one of @thePoetGeo's 'The New Luddites' who think all this internet social networking is rotting your brain.

Talking of going viral, we are very close now to Poetry24's first anniversary. What shall we do to celebrate? For starters, we'd love you to cast your mind back over the year (or as long as you've been visiting) and let us know which poems really added something to a story in the news, which lines stuck in your mind, made you look at things in a different way. Which poems made you laugh or cry?

Oh, and keep sending all of the above!


Saturday, 21 January 2012

Big Ships Still Sink

I saw them once in Naples
those giant cruise liners
lined up along the harbour wall
each like a multi-tiered cake at
an expensive wedding party

Not my kind of ships
more like office blocks
in busy city centres
or hotels in the Middle East
with luxury swimming pools

Someone said the passengers
didn’t always come ashore
“I mean why would they
want to they’ve got
everything they need?”

Their sheer size made
them look invincible
surely no ocean could
be deep enough to
cover them with water

So today with pictures
of Costa Concordia
leaning at twenty degrees
I said a prayer for those
who died and remembered
that big ships still sink
in deep or shallow seas.

© David Subacchi

Cruise captain 'committed errors', say ship's owners
David Subacchi is a civil servant who has been writing poetry seriously for just over a year. He hopes to publish his first English collection in 2012.

Friday, 20 January 2012


Cameron's colonial clamor
raising an issue
with significant noise
to drown the thunder out,
Islas De Malvinas,
islands that remain a
tentative thread
from an arrogant past,
not the people the
huddled few,
but oil and gas,
we will plunder maybe
avoid a war,
yet a regressive pain lingers
we have been there
once before,
human cost to be
not the fluctuation
of commodity.

©  Chris Lawrence

Falkland Islands Oil Could Triple U.K. Reserves

Chris Lawrence lives with his muse in West Kirby and writes, having been published in many journals internationally and can be found at: Clawfish

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Meeting Madness

Fifty years ago this year
two men knew the score–
that there could be no winner
in a nuclear war

And now the clock
has clunked forward
another big minute, 
we're sliding relentlessly
to meet our madness
face to face, once more.
Everyone knows in their heart,
from a starving child
to the bed ridden lady
with her card from the queen,
what that midnight hour
truly means

Back in '62, just two men,
cleft from each other
and the rest of humanity,
sat shaking on opposite sides
of a disbelieving world,
both with enough courage,
enough wisdom,
to step back,
to think about the children–
to acknowledge that
we are all human, first.
Their own lives were done for
but ours were saved

Look around,
please look around right now–
for the courage, the wisdom.
You may hope it is there,
that so-called leaders will talk
before giving in to war,
that test bans are withheld,
but you can hear the voices,
whispers which haunt
the savage winds
and they are worth repeating:

Fifty years ago this year
two men knew the score–
that there could be no winner
in a nuclear war.

© David Francis Barker

Doomsday Clock moves one minute closer to midnight
"I try to paint, write poetry, prose, sometimes music - I guess that makes me an artist." David Francis Barker. You can enjoy more of David's work at his website.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Epidemic Proportions

Swine flu when it came to our world was distressful,
a worry over deaths and disgust of smelly pigs,
but in Syria five thousand dead is not dreadful.

Because it is a civil war, it is just willful,
it's not a bad disease – just a very different gig –
while swine flu pushed us to fear and was distressful.

Now Assad thinks his people are a tad fretful
and needs weighty soldiers to carry nasty sticks
and guns, since he thinks many dead is not dreadful.

He’s simply removing a freedom din, and careful
to kill only active citizens who throw bricks,
till how Swine flu spreads fevers seems almost graceful,

as Assad sucks the air from those who are youthful.
It’s the Mideast where deaths are a must link to spring
but the Syrian deaths are shoddier than dreadful,

and so amnesty to those still alive, seems artful.
You’d think we’d all be there with a shout and a kick –
but our flu is more close-to-home personal
while Syrian deaths are from a distance just dreadful.

© Lavinia Kumar

Syria offers second amnesty to anti-regime protesters
Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her family includes a variety of cultures and immigrants. Her poetry has appeared in Waterways, Thatchwork (Delaware Valley Poets), Orbis, US1 Worksheets, and more.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Crow Goes Viral

Every morning the news is grim
in a way that somehow strikes home:
an accountant slays his wife and child,
before turning the gun on himself;
a young man gasps and sinks to his knees
as his knife wound blooms like a rose;
a music teacher hangs himself
and no one quite knows why.

But if the world is truly mad,
dear Crow, we need it more,
your moment of discovery,
your shaft of simple joy.
A crow at play is nothing much,
and yet you make us smile:
if only we could be like you,
at ease beneath our sun.

©  Abigail Wyatt

Clever bird toboggans down snowy rooftop
Abigail lives near Carn Brea, Cornwall. She writes poetry and short fiction. Her collection, 'Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories' , will be published by One Million Stories early in 2012.

Monday, 16 January 2012

The New Luddites

Are you the new Luddite
keeping the technology of consciousness
from the hungry mind?

Are they the new Luddites
regulators of the Internet
inhibiting evolution of human kind?

Is the Internet an addiction
perversely altering the mindset
of those lower casts who toil?

Or is Social Network freedom
a false consciousness liberator
and harbinger of the new oil?

Before the engine was built
oil was mostly underground
not doing what it had the power to do.

Do we light the odd lamp
or set 5 billion intellects ablaze
the future of civilization is up to . . . who?

©  @thePoetGeo

Internet Addiction Harms Brain
@thePoetGeo is a semi retired Zeppelin builder with the New Model Army

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Sunday Review

I'm not absolutely sure how many times Philip Challinor has got our week off to a flying start, but his poem, Tw*t will have struck a chord with many parents and pupils, preoccupied with thoughts of where Michael Gove's cost-cutting axe might fall next.

Hamish Mack's aptly named Bridging managed to span two relevant news items. Originally inspired by the news that no search was planned for a woman seen jumping off a bridge, following an argument, the poem could so easily have been linked to another story. Before opening the link in Hamish's submission, Clare was convinced the poem was about a story she had just read about, here.

Charlene Langfur's poem, Death of an Infantryman, about another young soldier killed in Afghanistan, takes on extra poignancy when we learn that Garrett A. Fant had longed to be in the Army from an early age. He joked about the significance of his name. As the Los Angeles Times put it, "You can't have an infantry without F-A-N-T."

Newcomer, Cathy Bryant, gave us The Reason, relating the daily plight of the UKs poorest families, as they struggle to make ends meet in the current economic climate.

On Friday, Lavinia Kumar's Dance for Me raised the issue of exploitation in the Andaman Islands, as young girls are ordered to dance for food, for the benefit of tourists. And in a week when France lost its AAA credit rating, a town in the west of the country has banned the word "mademoiselle" in the name of equality. David Francis Barker was quick to respond with The M word.

Never consciously aware of using an incorrect honorific, Mr M Hodges and Ms Clare Kirwan respectfully invite you to continue sending your news-related poems for consideration.


Saturday, 14 January 2012

The M word

So you're not a mademoiselle,
that much is clear.
If I called you a madame
would you mind –
before I open my big trap
and fall foul of everyone
from Brest to Brussels?

And shall I then address you
as 'tu' or 'vous'?
You see, I'd hate to offend,
me a mere male and all.
Yes, this tight rope I walk
would be lethal –
if I had any balls

© David Francis Barker

The beginning of the end for the mademoiselle?
"I try to paint, write poetry, prose, sometimes music - I guess that makes me an artist." David Francis Barker. You can enjoy more of David's work at his website.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Dance for me

The One Percent are on a trip to rare places
having already traveled to the typical,
and we see them set out to Andaman Islands,
a land of drongo, teepie, unique animals –
serpent-eagle, scoops-owl – guarded on an island
surrounded by tropical seas. But these tourists
came to feed bananas to new forest monkeys,
women, slaves forced to dance naked for caravans
of men as they take spicy video for home,
these moneyed beasts of prey who voyaged posh
and long miles to capture carnal fantasies,
bare breasts of young girls who are not their own naked
daughters paraded for dollars in their panties.

© Lavinia Kumar

Andaman Islands tribe threatened by lure of mass tourism

Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her family includes a variety of cultures and immigrants. Her poetry has appeared in Waterways, Thatchwork (Delaware Valley Poets), Orbis, US1 Worksheets, and more.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Reason

She struggles with two heavy baskets

and you can see puzzled faces -

why hasn't she got a trolley?

- though this is a cheap supermarket,

so some have the dearly bought wisdom

to know why she hasn't.

A clue in the baskets - basic bread.

Low-price looroll. Cheap chips.

10% off teabags. And the horrible,

miserable fifty p 'treat'

to make it bearable for another

two weeks. Two weeks. Two weeks.

It's giro day but she paid a fuel bill

and so struggles with two heavy baskets

cutting her palms and straining her shoulders

because she has no pound for the trolley

© Cathy Bryant

Poorest families left in the cold by energy suppliers
Award-winning Cathy co-edits the annual anthology 'Best of Manchester Poets', and her collection 'Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature' was published by Puppywolf in 2010.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Death of an Infantryman

Blue sky, grey war.
A land mine explosion in the snowy mountains,
high altitude, Afghanistan, on the Pakistani border,
no order here, only a single bomb
without warning, in early morning.
An unexpected death. His name was Garrett, an Army SPC
on routine patrol. It was his role.
He wanted to teach history, climb mountains, live long.
His death is listed under Military Deaths, the LOS ANGELES TIMES,
four columns of prose, what to know of him in a season of awakenings,
of rebirth, a few good words to keep the old war's harms
at bay maybe. It is the only way with this war, a war almost over
but never done, a conundrum, a no-news war, a no-reasons war,
still lethal, still real, still there, the ten-years-in war, in the wild hills,
no frills, with high up all-over-it, with cold that never grows old,
with its scrub pine, with its thistlely greens
with its little in betweens, sticks and pebbles frozen tight
all right, on the icy road home, the old war still young,
another soldier gone.

© Charlene Langfur

Garrett A. Fant dies at 21
Charlene is an organic gardener and a graduate of the S.U. graduate writing program.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


You think that you see,
someone falling from
the bridge.
Feet first, arms
in cruciform
You are in a car
heading East/West and
you cannot be sure.
There's nowhere to turn around,
go back and check.
So what can you do?
You know,
that image is going to
stay with you.
Someone in free-fall
jumping off the world you live in
and about to be
disconnected forever.
Because the bridge
did not do it's job.

© Hamish Mack

No search planned for bridge jumper
Hamish is a 51 year old New Zealander, married with 2 children. He has been writing poems for about 3 years, and has had a some published. He also blogs, at Light of Passage.

Monday, 9 January 2012


Poor Michael is not of the brightest, God wot;
And alas, he is not the most diligent swot;
Though he turns up to play-group almost on the dot,
And can just about drop a coin into a slot,
Or say how he likes the old Bible a lot,
Or read something simple or wash up a pot,
Or hit a barn door if he fires enough shot,
And is continent sometimes while out of his cot,
There are so many things that he just hasn't got,
Like a thought for the welfare of many a tot,
Or a teen whose job prospects are not very hot;
No matter how many the kids you've begot,
And whether he's lied or has just lost the plot,
Deary me, deary me, what-ho and what-what,
Poor Michael's been saying the thing that was not.

© Philip Challinor

Careers service and literacy hit by schools funding cuts


Weblog: The Curmudgeon - You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry.
Books: Philip Challinor's Books

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sunday Review

What better way to start the new year than with a rash of new contributors and our usual eclectic range of subject matter?

First up was Gwen Seabourne, waxing lyrical on the subject of public health with Market Miasma - and coining my favourite new word of the year: 'uncommonwealthy'.  Then Jane Slavin offered us a pox on all our parties with Proud parents of the unvaccinated Americans, and another great new word: 'lollipox'.

Another new face on Poetry24, Peter Flint reminded us that it is indeed a Small World and that as we bin our Christmas leftovers, 'It's not far...' to where people are still starving.

Wednesday saw a beautifully visual obituary St Trinian's creator To Ronald Searle from Philip Challinor who mourns the passing of his 'witchery of pen and ink'.  Happily Philip continues to offer plenty a 'delicately poisoned line' himself.

Meanwhile, things are hotting up in the Republican presidential nominations. Joshua Baumgarten's 'Oh, Iowa' took a visceral look at the unfolding theatre of the Iowa Caucus and Lavinia Kumar warned us that The bully is coming...

I meant to ask readers last week what their favourite or most memorable poem of the year on Poetry24 was? We'd be keen to hear your thoughts...

Keep writing!


Saturday, 7 January 2012

The bully is coming, the...

He’s a darling of the Tea Party dogs
as he rolls through the waves of hot air,
steps on people like they were fallen logs –
only those loyal and in line are spared.
Yes, it’s the governor of the Jersey Shore
who is sucked up by the rightist talkers
though his weight would break a diving board
he punches all who might be a squawkers.

‘Cos no-one in their right mind dares cross
the emperor-in-chief, anointed bully
of state workers, teachers, all he can boss,
even enemy family members fully
six degrees separated, their dead bacon
now strung up naked on thinning string.
Don’t you think it’s time for us to awaken –
he might president, and we’d need an Arab Spring.

Lavinia Kumar

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie's new bullying target: Sen. Richard Codey's family, friends

Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her family includes a variety of cultures and immigrants. Her poetry has appeared in Waterways, Thatchwork (Delaware Valley Poets), Orbis, US1 Worksheets, and more.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Small World

It's not far to the wheely-bin
Almost full...
The half-eaten turkey
That pork-pie...lurking at the back of the fridge
Long past its eat-by date...
It's not far to the corner-shop
The loaf of bread...the chocolate
To munch while watching the telly
It' s not far to the supermarket
With siren ranks of goodies
Each with its low-fat absolution
It's not far to that little pub
Lovely village...great food...atmosphere
Only an hour down the motorway
It's not far to...Florida...Thailand...Tenerife
Superb hotel...five restaurants...all-day service
It's not far to the dusty, sun-cursed square
Where swollen-bellied babies
Scrabble in the dirt for grains of corn...
Small world!

© Peter Flint

Minister tells us to give more money to charity... 

Peter is 77, belongs to Rossington Writers' Group, Doncaster and writes short stories and poems  for his grandkids. He taught for forty years...mainly English and says: 'I'm not J.K. Rowling.' 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Oh, Iowa

Oh Iowa,
I shed a tear for you.

How do you tolerate all the
men in collared shirts and sweater vests,
polished SUV’s and perfectly combed hair
clogging the streets of Mason and Sioux City
with CNN fatty acid news feeds of politicians
spewing cholesterol filled slogans,
slinging hollowed out hot dog promises?

Oh Iowa,
you are the
artery choked heartland of a country in coronary arrest.
Your commonplace street corners over run by
wide eyed crusaders calling out for your right wing conservative votes.
Proclaiming the need to put God back in the White House and every other house
where men and women with perfect sparkling white teeth proclaim that belief belongs.

Oh Iowa,
bologna on white bread miracle whip
ancestors of Anglo Saxon immigrants
home to the Amish, the Quakers, the Mennonites
the German Pietists and Transcendental Meditationists.
In the name of Slipknot we call out to you,
death metal citizens of Davenport, Sioux City and Waterloo.

Oh Iowa,
Des Moines, safe and sanctity
capital city
overrun and pillaged by spin doctors
spitting out false prescriptions for healthcare,
painted faced politicians
fevered and frothing with sound bites
reporters roaming rabid dog expectations
swing votes like small prey
making them anxious
heating their loins.

Oh Iowa,
how do you handle it with such poise
When the devils come dancing down the corn rows?

© Joshua Baumgarten

Transcript of CNN preview coverage        
Romney narrowly wins Iowa race
Joshua Baumgarten is an ex-pat New Yorker living in Holland. He organises the Irrational Library evenings - nights of poetry, rock n roll and casual chaos, and performs as a Standup Spoken Word artist.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

To Ronald Searle

Schoolgirls are very well, but there was more:
Those toothy birds and feline psychopaths,
Those wrinkly grins and eyeball-popping wraths,
Electric whiskers round the manic maw;
The bibulous and bibliophile alike,
Their blatherings of old books and old wine,
Trapped in your delicately poisoned line
Then skewered on a fine arachnid spike.

Although you wrote that tougher minds had paled
That school for junior horrors, hags and tarts
From noir to a nostalgic rosy pink,
Your acid and your vision rarely failed.
Goodbye, and thank you from our eyes and hearts
For all your witchery of pen and ink.

© Philip Challinor

Ronald Searle, St Trinian's creator, dies aged 91
Philip blogs at 'The Curmudgeon' - He insists, "You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry." Philip is the author of a number of books.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Proud parents of the unvaccinated Americans

We, the proud parents,
invite you and your little ones
to the party.

Bring nothing with you,
just an open mind, a few dollars
and the belief in your right to do right by your kids.

We’ll supply lollipox for licking,
saliva-saturated sweet things
for tiny tongues to rasp, grasp and grow warm.

Gob-stoppers.  Got ‘em, too.
Sugar-coated, ready to blister bodies,
tainted tissues to blow and inhale.

Big government, big business.
Is the real virus we’re fighting,
the candy that can kill.

Ours saves you from them.
Screw their warnings,
this noxious nanny-ism.

We, the proud parents of the unvaccinated,
with antibodies
will overcome this anti-American plague.

© Jane Slavin

Chicken Pox parties do more harm than good, says doctor
Jane is a former journalist, now council press officer, living in Plymouth. In her spare time, she is falling in love with words again by making her own stuff up!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Market Miasma

Re-enter the Barbour surgeon,
Well-heeled barbarian,
Prescriber of cures for cohesion,
Clystering hope,
Swaddling conscience with cunning,
Humouring markets,
Indulging bled patients with the choice
Of being
Those who pay or
Those who pray.

© Gwen Seabourne

Plan to let NHS trusts raise half of income from private healthcare
Gwen Seabourne is an academic specialising in medieval legal history, who has also published poems and stories in magazines and books, and on the radio, and has read at events including the Bristol International Poetry Festival.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2011 Review

It's been quite a year for us here at Poetry24 - what an eventful year to start a news-related poetry blog! We didn't know what to expect when we set up the site 10 months ago - in terms of news or poetry - but from Afghanistan to Zanesville Zoo our contributors have covered pretty well every major news story, and plenty of minor ones too!

Looking back through 2011's posts, we've had a veritable A-Z of the year -  from  the Arab Spring to the Zuccotti Park Occupy protest. On the way we've met bankers and cheese-rollers, shaken our heads over debt and the economy, the terrible forces of Fukushima, Gaddafi, and Hurricane Irene. We've seen Judgement Day for Kim Jung-Il, libraries and mice, the NHS and opium. We've gawped at pandas and the Queen, massed together for the riots and Strictly, learned more about Tibet, unemployment, veils, whistle-blowing, Xboxes and the Yemen.  Regular contributor has created this fantastic short film highlighting many of the poems we've published.

We have received nearly 400 submissions. A third of those we select appear on the site within two days of us receiving them. We've published poems by 106 poets in more than a dozen countries, had something like 35,000 hits on the site and been mentioned in various dispatches. And while it hasn't always been easy to keep up the pace, we're both very proud of the site and delighted by the great poems, the positive comments and - just as importantly - the moral support we've had since embarking.

Thanks to you all for being part of it, and do keep visiting, commenting and sending your poems in 2012.

A very Happy New Year to all!

Clare and Martin